This morning, the New America Foundation released a study entitled “Do NSA’s Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists?”, which concludes that the NSA surveillance programs are not as effective as the government purports them to be. After analyzing 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or similar groups, the New America researchers found that the government’s claims regarding the NSA surveillance programs’ effectiveness are “overblown and even misleading.”
In fact, their analysis “demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases,” highlighting the fact that the NSA surveillance programs produce few (if any) important leads. The group claims that “the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.”
The report is available in its entirety here.